Ciera and Anthony knew my previous work in documentary film (Beautiful Births) and approached me about making a documentary on the making of their film, The Last Train. The idea snowballed into making a full on documentary on the topic of suicide awareness. As the step-daughter of a Vietnam veteran and domestic abuse survivor who has dealt with my own bouts of depression, suicide ideation and even attempts when I was younger, this is a subject that I know well.
I began this journey in March 2015 and started talking to people who lost family members to suicide. Over the last four years I talked to mothers, fathers, daughters, sisters and every story was different but all were heartbreaking. Months after talking to these people I couldn’t get their stories out of my head. Some of them became social media acquaintances who gave me a peek into their lives. Suddenly it became very clear to me that this film wasn’t just my film. This film was their film. This film was their lost loved one’s film. This was a conversation that needed to happen. I heard about suicide from those who were eager to commit the act to those who were devastated because someone in their life had.
This wasn’t my time to speak, have an opinion, question, judge, offer advice, solace - it was my time to shut up and listen. So I did. Then I read articles, journals and books and watched films on suicide cults (Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate) and The Bridge (2006). I spent the last three years researching the subject of suicide from all angles including as far back into our human history as I could find of accounts of people taking their own lives. I followed the trail to our present day crisis with statistics around the world.
Always an optimist at heart and aware of how heavy this subject is, I wanted to end with a message of hope and suggest alternative coping mechanisms - which is really what people who are suffering with suicide ideation are in need of. People take their lives when their coping mechanisms are gone. Chemical medication works for only a percentage of the population, so for those whom it doesn’t work on, we discuss a new study that UCLA is doing to rearrange the brain circuits. Jared Padalecki talks about how he learned how to re-train his neurons. We discuss diet and the importance of nutrition, art therapy and it’s many benefits. And we encourage people to reach out to each other with one on one interaction because life is hard and none of us were meant to go at it alone.
Our country is facing many crisis’ right now. Suicide is one of them but it’s also part of a bigger issue; mental health - which is plaguing our country right now. Not only is this film important but it’s never been more relevant and timely then it is right now. This film is a labor of love with no real budget and I’ve once again had to utilize my available resources to get it made but it’s full of heart, soul, tears and hope.
Writer/Director/Producer/Editor: Jacqui Blue
Executive Producers: Jeanne Finkelstein, Marilyn Fondo
Co-producer: Jessica Fondo
Associate Producers: Paulina Michaels, Magali Widmer
Composer: Bruce Witkin
Opening Graphic Animation: Brian Weaver
Original Art by: Lisa Parrott Perz
Camera Persons: David Bacon, Javan Joslin, Makena Tolman, Magali Widmer
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